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Friday, 8 June 2012

An Organised Space - At last!

I love scrapbooking - I really enjoy the process and my albums are helping to record our story and keep our family memories alive! As a step family, and living on the other side of the world from our family most of the time - somehow recording the very special time we do spend together is even more meaningful.

In Singapore, homes are usually on the small side - its a tiny island only 272 square miles and there are around 5 million people living here, making it the second most densely populated place on the planet! I was used to having a dedicated scrap room in our English home and really didnt want to be without some dedicated scrapping space - but it had to be in a room that could also double as a guest bedroom! My entire scrapping world has to fit into a space a little over 8 x 7 feet! The rest of the room has to be for visitors!

I had two small desks and two Expedit units - a 4 x 4 and a 2 x 4 but everything I needed seemed to end up on my desk or on the floor until there was virtually no space left to scrap and I couldnt find most of my things most of the time - lets be honest - you dont use what you cant find can you? Some days I couldnt even find my desk!!!! These are my before photos of which I am totally ashamed!!!! Obviously we hadnt had visitors for a while and Id just done a cyber crop on UK Scrappers so this is (honestly) much worse than normal - but I definitely needed to get a grip!

So I trawled the message boards and youtube, blogs and suppliers websites - looking at beautiful spacious bespoke craft rooms and a few like mine - I even found a few worse than mine!!!! The real question seemed to be - did I really need more storage or was the problem I really needed to have less stash? Did I love the stash I already had - answer yes, I did love it - I just couldnt find it when I needed it, and the time it took me to do a LO was growing longer and longer - It was at this point that the truth (as I see it) emerged! I simply needed a system - to free me up to be able to scrap happily - like I had in England - A place I could see things and admire and USE all the beautiful stash I had........ and I needed to purge all the stuff I was never going to use! I needed organisation and I needed it fast!

As a measure of gratitude to all those who have organised before me, and maybe a little help to those who still have to tread my painful path - here is my guide to what I did and how I did it!

The first thing is that as much as I would love to have the beautiful fitted cupboards and shelves some people have - it wasnt going to happen now and it isnt going to happen here! We are expats and we arent going to be here forever! So nothing is fixed because if I go it needs to be able to come with me! The second thing, is that I didnt want to spend a fortune - I would rather spend it on stash really! (OK you have seen the photos and you all KNOW I have enough already - does that ever stop me - erm Nope!) So it was going to be more cheap than chic - BUT I did want it to look nice and be sturdy enough to stand up to daily use! Oh and I wanted to find stuff!!!

The first thing I did was empty the Expedits - I waited for my DH to be away on business for a whole 10 days - then I emptied the entire contents of my craft room into the lounge. I spent a couple of days sorting, grouping, re-discovering and thinking through what I needed and what was going.

I then decided that the Expedits love them as I do, were really best for 12 x 12 - cardstock, patterned paper, albums and boxes of organised but as yet unscrapped photos, for the most part - and this is how it now looks

From the top left corner it works like this (theres lots of lovely photos of stash further down if you dont care how my expedit is organised)

Section 1
Large dies and project bags - I keep work in progress in these so everything is handy and I dont loose stuff anymore. It also stops stuff accumulating on my desk and helps me get things done

Section 2
Cutting mats for my Pazzles, Stamps and my Scoreboard

Section 3
Wood Flourishes , Sparkly Flourishes, Chipboard, Bookbinding Stuff and Glass Paint!
12 inch cutters and pages waiting to go into albums.

Section 4

Section 5
I run a club - so all the club stuff is in here!

Section 6
Laminator, A4 paper and office supplies.

Row 2

Section 1

Wet wipes, bit bin and kitchen roll. Tim Holtz craft mat

Section 2 Drawers
These are the ones from IKEA for the Expedit - in the top one I keep small bags for organising page kits and things to go, cotton buds for occasional craft jobs, paint brushes, and a beading mat

Bottom Drawer
Promarkers and Scrapbooking Pens

Section 3

My bit bags - all my odds and ends of carstock and Patterend paper are filed in the appropriately coloured bag and this is my go to place when \I need a bit of something - its sorted ROYGBIV and Neutrals - these are the nearest thing to my desk - so I go there first!

Sections 4, 5 and 6
Photos - sorted chronologically and seperated by event.

Row 3

Section 1 and 2
These sections keep memorabilia and page protectors - I dont have as much of this, and I dont use it as much as the photos - so its a bit more out of the way as this is under my desk!

Section 3 and 4
Patterned Paper - full sheets organised by manufacturer and collection packs

Section 5

Section 6
Completed albums and mini books - anything smaller than 12 x 12

Row 4

Section 1 and 2
Embroidery and jewellry making stash - I dont do this as much so it lives out of the way!

Section 3 and 4
Completed organised albums

Section 5 and 6
Books, Magazines chipboard, wire, origami and bits of memorabilia, felt, handmade paper, die cuts and chipboard shapes!

My next problem was my desk was usually so cluttered up with stuff I didnt have room to scrap

So I found some very cheap (not entirely chic) small shelving  unit things which are designed for a bathroom - and I bought 6 of them.

They are only small and three of them now sit on my desk

I thought through how I scrap - and I organised my workspace accordingly - so at the top left we have inspiration - page maps etc in a basket - sketches hundreds of them saved in trading card wallets and kept together on a large book ring - so easy to do!

Obviously all neatly stored in their basket!

In the next section I have buttons, brads and washi tape and a bit of braid!

Next its all my Knockouts punches and my Martha Stewart collection -

Row two and three below it - I have a  neat stack of origami boxes which store things like my nestabilities on magnetic sheets, glue sticks for my glue gun, books of sentiments and sayings - oh and Origami paper! How cool is that?  There are also some of my inks which live in the section above the other inks I like to keep handy! In front is a little book I made of a recent trip to Thailand and my memory stick with my latest photos to print - waiting to be taken to Harvey Norman's printing department.

The bottom row then - my distress ink pads and other inkpads - and my photo trimmer live here and my back up hard drives! Well a girl cant be too careful - note all stored away from anything liquid - even my reinkers are on the other side of my storage system <s>

Ribbon storage had long been a challenge - these little stacking boxes have sorted it out great for me! Organised by colour, rolled up and secured with a thin hair band - they stay un-tangled and easy to see - I have 9 boxes in one section and I can pretty much see all I have in here easily! There is just a little spot left for my glossy accents and glue bottle here too!

The next section has everything messy - distress stains, colour wash and foam pads in a box and the bottle of glossy accents that is just about empty!

Middle bottom is distress central - I have files, Tim Holtz ink applicators, photos about to be scrapped and my little green chest of things I got fed up of losing -  mini attacher and stapes, spare blades and the other small things that always get lost when you need them - or is it just me?

And the rest of the messy stuff is below the distress stains and colour washes - and away from the hard drives! Also ther is my little pot of scrappy essentials including satay sticks for gem application, and a pile of things you need to have near! Or at least I do <s>

Above the shelf is my fine collection of Chinese beads and crystals, which you will grow used to seeing on my LO's I might even give some away if you come back, visit often and leave me lovely comments <s>

And next to the Chinese beads - the most beautiful Chinese Braid, some leaves, berries and felt ribbon that I dont know what do do with - ideas welcome!

Then there are some small shape punches in storage bags (not very interesting really)

And next to them are these lovely boxes - which contain no end of wonderful things as you can see!

Round the corner on my left is another bathroom storage unit - with everything else I need to hand

Top shelf houses ATG's and Adhesives - wet and dry

Middle shelf its my Cropadile and Big Bite, templates for swirl making etc. Prima, Bling, Journal Pads and the last one or two of packs of Embellies that need using up - otherwise they would be sitting on my desk - we've been there and we dont want to go back again do we?

Finally bottom shelf has various flowers - attachments for my Pazzles, my Bejeweller, heat gun and hot glue gun and it looks like this - its immediately on my left - so has everything else in there Im using all the time - most importantly - because its just there I tidy as I go now - which makes clearing up a whole lot easier!

Finally, at the end of the Expedit - are the things I dont use all the time - stored on two more bathroom units - my Big Shot and Sidekick- dies and embossing folders, fabric and my little sewing machine, paper any size but 12 x 12 and a few other less frequently used items - and you can see them all here

I have a unit over the second desk with stationery, card blanks, cardmaking bits, stickers, alphas, pearlescent pearls here by my Printer, Laptop and my beloved Pazzles machine -

And thats it - my little bit of paradise in paradise!!!! 

Thanks for looking I hope you found a little inspiration or a few ideas too! I love my space now - its always tidy and Im more productive than I have been for ages - pure bliss!


  1. Just came over from ScrapHappy. Lovely re-do! Now you just have to use up the stash :) Thanks for sharing your process and your small space. I have a small space too, but a lot less stuff. I've been paring down and really focusing on what I use. It makes it quicker and easier to scrap-yes?

    Happy scrapping!

    1. Thank you so much for visiting! Im planning on using a lot more stash than I buy until Ive made a decent dent in my stash mountain!
      Hopefully I will have some lovely pages completed too! I scrap a lot faster now it is organised!

  2. Thanks for sharing your process. I have almost as much fun reorganizing as I do scrapping.

    Another ScrapHappy sister.

    1. Oh me too Betsye - I love stroking my stash and enjoy rediscovering things! Occasionally I do do a bit of scrapping too!

      I sometimes think my real hobby is collecting and storing stash rather than scrapbooking :)

  3. Hi !
    Just popped over from scrap happy also! You did a great job storing all of your supplies in such a small space, great job! As I mentioned in a post over at SH, my organization is a process but I know I'm getting closer to my best solution when I start scrapping with paper more instead of digi!
    Have fun in your new space!

    1. Thanks so much for visiting - and for your vote of confidence! I really do think the key to it is working out how you scrap and building your organisation / system around that!

  4. Allison! This is great! I love how you documented your process and that you've listed where everything goes. I heard once that if you label something (a bin, a shelf, etc.) you are 80% more likely to put it back where it goes. I think you are one your way! Can't wait to see what you create now!
    Hooray for ScrapHappy sisters!

  5. Thanks Kelli! I will let you know how I get on!!!!!


Thanks so much for stopping by and for taking the time to comment! I cant tell you how much I appreciate it!